Athlete of the Issue: Alexis Stevenson

Johnny Gross Co-Editor in Chief   An “Athlete of the Issue” interview with star Girls’ basketball player Alexis Stevenson Q: How is the season going so far? A: The season’s beginning to pick up. We had a rough start because for our first four games we didn’t have our head coach, so a lot of responsibility was placed on the players, especially the captains, to pick up the slack, which was a tough transition. We lost some games that we never should have lost, due to simply a lack of focus and aggressiveness on our part. We’re starting to play closer to how I know we’re capable of playing again, which is a sign that we’re heading in the right direction.   Q: When and why did you start playing basketball? Why do you love it and what is your favorite part about playing it? A: I started playing basketball when I was in 4th grade, and actually played on an AAU team with Lizzie Marks, Bridget Cato and Caroline Kaplan, so it was nice playing with them again my freshman and sophomore year. Honestly, I began playing basketball because my brother did. I think as a younger sibling, you naturally tend to follow whatever your older sibling does, so, for me, it was only right that I played the game. I love playing basketball because of the escape it provides from school and everyday life. That window of time where I’m playing, whether in practice or during a game, is the time where I’m solely focused on basketball and nothing else. I also love the game and continue to play it because I learn so much from it. Basketball is honestly more than just a game. There are so many opportunities for a person to grow, which can be gaining leadership skills (something I’m continuing to work on this season) and learning the power of teamwork and where hard work can lead you. These are all things that sports in general provide kids with, which is something that can’t be taught in a classroom—only through experience. Q: What is your favorite part about playing on the Latin Girls’ team? A: The thing I love most about playing with this team at Latin is that we may not be the fastest, the strongest or the most athletic team, but somehow, we always find a way to win, and I think that’s attributed to our willingness to work hard and the competitive nature of the kids on our team. I’ve felt these two attributes since my first practice my freshman year. Courtesy of Rouse, our practices are always intense, which motivates us all to work harder and push ourselves. This intensity is translated over to games, which is why the girl’s team has been so successful over the years. We’re also a close-knit team, which helps our camaraderie on the court. We have practice for about two hours a day, six days a week, so we’re around each other probably more than any other sport at Latin, which is why it’s so easy for us to all get to know one another. Q: What is it like being scouted to play college basketball? Do scouts often come to your games? A: Being scouted is a fun but pressure-filled process. The idea of a college scout wanting you to play for their team is exciting and makes me want to work harder, because now I’m aware that someone’s paying attention to me and what I can bring to the table, which is the fun aspect of it all. The process is anxiety-inducing because now I know that someone’s always watching, which means I can’t take any games off. There will be games where I might have a bad shooting day or what not, which they understand, but if that’s the case, then they begin looking at other aspects of your game—mainly if I’m continuing to hustle and make plays on the defensive end. So to know that there are people who are watching my games, creates an internal pressure to always go out and give 110% no matter what. Q: As a talented and dedicated basketball player, how do you prepare for games? Do you have a pregame ritual? A: Before games, I absolutely have to listen to music to get me pumped up. In addition to that, I will also find something to get mad at, which will motivate me to play my hardest. Some of my best games have been where I am trying to send a message to the other team because they’ve been critical of our team, or because they believe they have the best player on their team. Those are the types of things that I find disrespectful to either my team or myself, and that I take offense to, which is why I feel such a need to go out there and perform at the highest level.   Q: Is there is anything else that you would like to include? Perhaps a favorite basketball memory? A: The most memorable game for me was last year when we played Morgan Park Academy. This game was to determine who would win the ISL. For me, this was the best game I’ve ever played at Latin because all of last year, other teams in our conference said it was a “rebuilding year” for our team, since we lost five seniors. Everyone thought that this was the year they had a shot at beating us and winning the title. This was the last team we had to defeat in our conference, so I played my absolute hardest, because as I said earlier, I wanted to send a message that this year was absolutely not a rebuilding year for us and that we’re still the number one team to beat in this conference. When we won, I was just happy that our team was finally able to get the credit we deserved all season long that other teams were unwilling to give us. ]]>